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Cancer Treatment

Cancer Care Northwest Now Offers Advanced Molecular Imaging Service

Posted: February 1, 2021



SPOKANE, WA - Cancer Care Northwest (CCNW) is proud to announce the addition of an advanced molecular imaging service, Gallium-68 (GA-68) Dotatate PET/CT scans, for the localization of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) that are somatostatin receptor positive. NET tumors develop most commonly in the lungs, appendix, small intestine, rectum, and pancreas and produce an “overexpression” of a specific cell feature called somatostatin receptors. Molecular imaging technologies use this cell feature to detect cancerous cells throughout the body and as a target for the delivery of therapy.

Molecular imaging provides detailed pictures of what is happening inside the body at the molecular or cellular level, allowing physicians to see how the body is functioning and to measure its chemical and biological processes. A type of molecular imaging, GA-68 PET/CT scans, may be used during initial (diagnostic) testing to locate a cancer tumor or to look at where the NET has spread. It may also be done at other times to check how the treatment is working or if tumor cells have spread, or metastasized.

Performed at the CCNW South Clinic (601 S Sherman Street in Spokane, WA), patients can expect a GA-68 PET/CT scan to take approximately 2 hours. The GA-68 doctorate “radioactive tracer” will be given intravenously to the patient. Cells with somatostatin receptors on their surface will attract and attach to the GA-68 dotatate. You will then have a PET scan, which can detect the radiation put off by the GA-68 dotatate. The scanner's computer creates a figure of the patient on the screen. Any areas with a higher amount of GA-68 will show up as a bright spot on the image.

The benefits to using GA-68 PET/CT scans include improved imaging accuracy and increased imaging sensitivity and specificity, which help oncologists to diagnose, stage and treat the cancer, and in disease management. Additionally, molecular imaging in patients with NET can help with localization of disease (primary) and to evaluate the extent of the disease.

This is just one of the advanced imaging services available at Cancer Care Northwest. Recently, CCNW purchased the GE Discovery IQ 4-Ring PET/CT scanner. This technology provides patients with a decreased scan time, decreased isotope and radiation dose, and an ultra-high sensitivity imaging experience with access to two both PET and CT imaging options, that when combined, can detect cancer in its earliest stages.  To read more about CCNW’s imaging capabilities, please visit: www.cancercarenorthwest.com/pet-ct.